I’ll get the bad news over and done with first:
As far as I’m aware, this was my final entry of the year so this completes my 2018 full-house of competition snubs!
I do still have it mind to do a round-up of all of all my rejections, but this is mainly because I really like the working title of my blog post – ‘The price of failure’ – rather than any desire to dwell for too long on what has been a disappointing (and costly) exercise on the submissions front.
I’m not, however, too downcast about any this. I’ve had a great year in so many other ways and feel like I’ve learnt a lot too. I now have another five or six months before the next round of submissions begins and, for 2019, I will definitely be focussing my efforts and investment a little more carefully too. But there’s plenty more time to reflect on this at a later date.
Since June’s #30x30DirectWatercolour2018 challenge came to an end I’ve felt a little bit ‘lost’ for subject matter. I know that when I’m on a roll, it’s easy to talk myself into why I should try a particular view, even though I’m not sure I can do it justice. Equally, when I’m at a lower ebb, it’s easy to talk myself out of subject matters, or even painting altogether sometimes.
I’ve been suffering from a bit of this ‘lower ebb’ of late and have been struggling to work up much enthusiasm. In an effort to paint my through this minor blockage, I decided to take on a landscape view that I felt I could tackle in a loose and carefree fashion, and here’s the result:
This was done super quickly, due in part to the heatwave we’ve been experiencing recently in the UK which meant that everything dried out almost immediately! I can’t help but think that there’s something quintessentially English about this view, the light, sky, colours, topography of the landscape, it all feels so incredibly familiar and very English. This effort fell into place pretty quickly and it felt nice to paint without much of a care.
I popped this onto my Instagram account and was surprised and delighted that someone expressed an interest in buying it straight away. Unfortunately, however, I don’t feel able to sell it, as I feel I can paint it much better! As I enjoyed painting this so much, and I’m quite clear in my mind how I can improve on it, I’ve offered to do another version or two of this scene so that the interested party can choose between them. The main areas that I’ll be looking to improve on are the tree – which I think needs to be less dense and handled with a little more lightness of touch with more sky showing through. As Edward Wesson used to say – so I’m told – trees need to have gaps in them to allow the birds to fly through. I’d also like to address the cows, which are the wrong scale, and don’t particularly look like cows! I’d also like to introduce some vibrant yellow into the pastures as there was a great swathe of cowslips in the pasture that I didn’t manage to capture in this painting which I think would give the view a real lift.
Speaking of real lifts that’s exactly what this painting has given me, and not purely because it generated some buying interest! It’s been a great reminder that sometimes the simplest of scenes can often be the most satisfying and that any amount of agonising over a painting is no guarantee of success.